The white crown and black clubface finish "will be the future of pretty much all metal woods we have," said Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's director of product creation for metal woods.
What it is: Assuming you haven’t been submerged in a sand trap for the last six months, you’ve no doubt seen the eye-popping white crown/black clubface color treatment on TaylorMade’s R11 and Burner SuperFast 2.0 drivers and fairway woods.
It’s one of the most heavily publicized golf club developments in recent memory, and it’s more than just a trendy paint job.
“The science of a black face to a white crown gives you the ability to see that top line edge very accurately and have great aiming capabilities,” said Tom Olsavsky, director of product creation for metal woods at the Carlsbad-based company. “In the past, we’ve had drivers with black crowns and silver faces. Those were OK, but they weren’t quite as good as white with a black face.”
TaylorMade has pushed the envelope with crown/face color schemes since the 1990s, when copper tops trademarked such popular drivers as the Ti Bubble 2. More recently, the r7 CGB Max line featured metallic red crowns.
Research conducted with Dr. Steve Hitzeman at the Indiana University School of Optometry for last year’s Rossa Ghost putter line (which featured all white clubheads) was applied to woods, and Olsavsky says the white-and-black visual optimization “was pretty apparent.”
“The bigger challenge was the psychological obstacle of, ‘Wow, are we really going to do this?’ because it was so unique and so much better,” Olsavsky said. “But it wasn’t as much of a risk because the technology was there — it was just a bit of a visual leap of faith, if you will.”
What it does: You have to see it to believe it. The flat white crown finish on any of the options might raise your eyebrows at first, but once you set the club down at address, zeroing in on the ball and determining the angle of the clubface just seems simpler.
What’s more, the finish is flat and not glossy, so distracting light reflections have been minimized.
“The white crown is really a performance technology because it helps you align better and it takes away glare from hot spots in bright sunlight. Those are the things that are beneficial to golfers,” Olsavsky said.
Complementing the exterior on the R11 drivers are the latest incarnations of adjustable Flight Control and Movable Weight technologies, as well as the new Adjustable Sole Plate, which allows the user to alter the face angle without changing the loft.
“Golfers can get dialed in a lot better and a lot more accurately with all three of the adjustments working for them, as opposed to just having to deal with the issues of a hosel-only adjustment,” said Olsavsky.
What’s next: Added Olsavsky, “We believe this will be the future of pretty much all metal woods we have. When we see the feedback from golfers, we’re finding out that there really is something pretty important to them and to this ability to align. We don’t really see changing it any time soon.”